Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Do Whatever You Want To It"

T H E  C O U N T R Y   S Q U I R T — Yes, Squirt, since it was so much smaller than a real Country Squire. Vintage polaroid of a 1960-61 Bug. My uncle got a great deal on it, but my father still had to buy it for him. I think it was all of  $250 in the late '60s. It was originally solid Prairie Beige. The 6v headlights were so feeble, that on a few night drives we actually stopped and got out to look and see if they were working. It was pretty beat; it probably had been around the block a few thousand times. 

I was enthralled with it's "importness" in a time when American cars ruled the day. There was a 'hidden' compartment under the passenger's toeboard. You lifted back the carpet, and then there was a metal cover with a thumbhole to lift it out. There was enough room to keep a small camera out of sight, but I don't remember ever using it. There was also a  the little lever on the floor that was flipped from one side to another when the car started to run out of gas. There was no gas gauge on early VWs! Instead there was an auxiliary tank of about a gallon that you could switch over to when the main tank ran dry via that little floor lever. Then you knew you had to get to a gas station to fill the main tank again. Interesting Teutonic logic there!

After a few months I was told I could paint it or do whatever I wanted to it. I was about 11 or 12 years old. I applied 'American Oak' contact paper on the sides, hood and trunk, and painted the fenders black, in the style of an old woody wagon. Notice the sheen all over the car? I brushed on high gloss marine varnish on the entire car when i was done. It took about a week to dry, lol. I think we had it for all of a year. There were always 2 or more good new or near-new cars and a few old wrecks to play with, lol.

B T W :
S E N S E   O F   H U M O R — Many early Beetle owners lavished custom accessories on their peculiar little imports, often in a humorous or ironic manner. Catalogs were filled with faux Rolls-Royce grilles and hoods, all sorts of wheel covers, wooden dashboards, steering wheels etc. Another popular version had rear fender skirts, a visor over the windshield and a raised grille/hood for that thirties look. In my town, there was a white Sunroof Beetle with a 3 foot key sticking out of the rear engine cover, like a 1:1 Schuco wind-up toy. 

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